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  • Saturday, 15 June 2024
Oil Prices Decline Amid U.S. Inflation Concerns

Oil Prices Decline Amid U.S. Inflation Concerns

Market Analysis

In Asian trading on Tuesday, oil prices continued their downward trend as investors braced for the potential impact of persistent U.S. inflation and the likelihood of higher interest rates, which could dampen both consumer and industrial demand.


Brent Crude and WTI Prices Fall

Brent crude futures dropped by 57 cents, equivalent to 0.68%, settling at $83.14 per barrel by 0613 GMT. Similarly, U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude (WTI) slipped 58 cents, or 0.73%, reaching $79.22 a barrel.


Market Reaction to Federal Reserve Statements

The decline in oil prices comes after both benchmarks experienced a slight decrease of less than 1% on Monday. This shift occurred as U.S. Federal Reserve officials signaled that they were awaiting further evidence of slowing inflation before contemplating interest rate adjustments.


According to analyst Toshitaka Tazawa at Fujitomi Securities, concerns regarding weaker demand emerged amidst the possibility of a delayed Fed rate cut.


Federal Reserve Officials' Remarks

On Monday, Fed Vice Chair Philip Jefferson remarked that it was premature to ascertain whether the slowdown in inflation would persist in the long term. Meanwhile, Vice Chair Michael Barr emphasized the need for additional time before implementing restrictive policy measures. Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic echoed similar sentiments, stating that the central bank would require significant time to ascertain the sustainability of a slowdown in price growth.


Implications for Oil Market

The statements from Fed officials suggest that interest rates are likely to remain elevated for a longer duration than anticipated by the market. This scenario could adversely impact the oil market as increased borrowing costs restrain economic growth and curtail demand for crude oil.


Political Uncertainty in Oil-Producing Countries

Despite political uncertainties in major oil-producing nations, such as Iran and Saudi Arabia, the oil market exhibited minimal reaction. Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi's demise in a helicopter crash on Sunday and Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman deferring a trip to Japan due to his father's health concerns did not significantly sway market dynamics.


According to Fujitomi's Tazawa, the absence of immediate implications for energy policy following these events contributed to the market's muted response.


Focus on OPEC+ Meeting

Investor attention remains fixed on the upcoming meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, collectively known as OPEC+. Scheduled for June 1, this gathering will determine output policy, including deliberations on extending voluntary production cuts of 2.2 million barrels per day among certain member nations.


IG market strategist Yeap Jun Rong highlighted that oil prices are awaiting a catalyst to break out of the current range. He emphasized the significance of geopolitical developments and this week's oil inventories data in influencing market direction.


Potential Extension of Output Cuts by OPEC+

Sources familiar with the matter have indicated that OPEC+ could prolong some voluntary output reductions if demand fails to rebound, as reported by Reuters.


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